Sodding Suggestions- Native Christmas Ferns

Christmas Ferns –Polystichum acrostichoides


Scientific Name: Polystichum acrostichoides

Common Name: Christmas Ferns

Hardiness: USDA zones 3 to 9

How Sold: In bunches.  Contact us today to purchase some for your yard project!

Landscape Use: Dryish or moist soils in woodland gardens, shade gardens or shady areas of borders, wild or native plant gardens. May also be planted in shady areas along walls or foundations. A good plant for massing on slopes (including dryish, rocky ones) to help combat soil erosion.

Description: Polystichum acrostichoides, commonly called Christmas fern, is native to Eastern North America, and occurs in both dry and moist wooded slopes, moist banks and ravines. Typically grows in a fountain-like clump to 2′ tall and features leathery, lance-shaped, evergreen (green at Christmas time as the common name suggests) fronds. Stocking shape of the pinnae also suggests Christmas. Crosiers (young fiddleheads) in spring are silvery and scaled. Sori appear on the undersides of the pinnae only at the ends (last 1/3) of the fronds. Evergreen fronds provide good winter interest for the landscape. Genus name comes from the Greek words polys meaning many and stichos meaning in a row in reference to its spore cases being in rows.

Planting Instructions: Best grown in organically rich, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Consider planting rhizome at an angle to help combat potential crown rot problems which can occur in poorly drained soils. Although rhizomatous, this fern will not spread or naturalize, however clumps will increase in size over time. Dig saucer shaped hole. The depth is determined by measuring the height of the roots from root flare to bottom. The width is 2-3 times the root ball diameter. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start.

Care & Maintenance: No trimming needed. If desired, fertilize in spring when new growth begins. Apply 2 tbsp. of an all-purpose slow release organic fertilizer for lawn care upon the ground in a band around the plant at least 6” away from its stems. Divide every 2-3 years

Disease & Pests: No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot in poorly drained soils can be a problem, particularly in winter. It is tolerant of rabbit, deer, drought, heavy shade, erosion, dry soil, shallow-rocky soil.


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